[ klep-si-druh ]
See synonyms for clepsydra on
noun,plural clep·sy·dras, clep·sy·drae [klep-si-dree]. /ˈklɛp sɪˌdri/.
  1. an ancient device for measuring time by the regulated flow of water or mercury through a small aperture.

Origin of clepsydra

1640–50; <Latin <Greek klepsýdra, equivalent to kleps- (klep-, stem of kléptein to steal, conceal + -s- formative in derivation) + hydra, derivative of hýdōr water

Words Nearby clepsydra Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use clepsydra in a sentence

  • Perhaps the earliest mechanical time measure was the clepsydra, or water clock.

  • Time was measured by the clepsydra, and the expression indicates that the night was far spent and dawn near.

    Chinese Poems | Various
  • Indeed, the record on one tablet has been interpreted as noting that the astronomer's clock or clepsydra had stopped.

    The Astronomy of the Bible | E. Walter Maunder
  • This water clock was called a clepsydra, the name being taken from two Greek words meaning 'thief of water.'

  • As the sound of the bells died away, the last drop of water fell from the clepsydra and marked the hour of midnight.

British Dictionary definitions for clepsydra


/ (ˈklɛpsɪdrə) /

nounplural -dras or -drae (-ˌdriː)
  1. an ancient device for measuring time by the flow of water or mercury through a small aperture: Also called: water clock

Origin of clepsydra

C17: from Latin, from Greek klepsudra, from kleptein to steal + hudōr water

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012